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Daily Business Review: Homeowners’ Water Damage Claim Rejected Over Covered Peril

INSURANCE – MIAMI-DADE CIRCUIT COURT

Homeowners’ Water Damage Claim Rejected Over Covered Peril

A judge rejected three homeowners who claimed their insurer improperly denied a property-damage claim. In 2015, Sandra Gonzalez, Yean Gonzalez and Jose Perez claimed their Miami home in Miami sustained water damage from a roof leak and filed a claim with their carrier, Citizens Property Insurance Corp., to cover the water damage. Citizens Property denied the claim, and the plaintiffs sued for breach of contract. After plaintiff’s counsel rested its case, the defense moved for a directed verdict. The defense argued the plaintiffs failed to meet their burden to establish a covered peril caused an opening in the roof or wall and rain entered through that opening. Judge Spencer Eig granted the defense motion.

Case: Gonzalez v. Citizens Property insurance

Case No.: 2016-000304-CA-01

Plaintiff’s attorneys: Dennis Gonzalez Jr. and Manuel Herrera, Gonzalez & Herrera, Miami; and Raphael A. Sanchez, The Law Office of Raphael A. Sanchez, Miami

Defense attorneys: Lindsey R. Halligan, Fort Lauderdale, and George Hooker, Miami, Cole, Scott & Kissane

Daily Business Review: Cardiologist Cleared in 41-Year-Old Patient’s Death

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE – BROWARD CIRCUIT COURT

 Cardiologist Cleared in 41-Year-Old Patient’s Death

A jury decided a cardiologist was not liable in the death of a patient he was treating at a hospital. Lisa Macko, 41, a mother of two, died from cardiac arrest on July 8, 2014, a day after she went to a hospital emergency room complaining of severe chest pain. She was seen by an on-call cardiologist, Dr. David Jurkovich. Macko’s estate sued Jurkovich, alleging he failed to diagnose spontaneous dissection of the coronary artery, a known postpartum condition. The defense contended a catheterization had not revealed an indication of an arterial dissection. The estate countered that a sonogram should have been performed, but the defense contended the test itself could have proven fatal. The jury sided with Jurkovich.

Case: Estate of Macko v. Jurkovich.

Case No.: CACE16007056

Plaintiffs’ attorneys: Michael Cecere, Cecere Santana, Plantation; and Stacie L. Cohen and Jeffrey M. Fenster, Fenster & Cohen, Plantation

Defense attorneys: Jonathan Midwall, Cole, Scott & Kissane, Miami

CSK successfully defeats $500,000+ property damage claim in speedy jury trial

CSK’s George Hooker and Lindsey Halligan secured a complete defense verdict in a denied roof leak case in Broward County. Plaintiffs claimed their roof was damaged by wind, but George and Lindsey presented evidence that the roof was old and just past its normal life expectancy. The jury was out 45 minutes before finding the Plaintiffs didn’t even meet their initial burden of showing a sudden and accidental loss during the policy period. Benaejah Simmonds, Ismary Cepero and Suly Birnbaum assisted with case work-up and defense.

CSK wins favorable verdict from jury in personal injury case where plaintiff sought $13 million

Howard Scholl and Eric Nelsestuen, a partner and associate, respectively, in Cole, Scott & Kissane’s Tampa Office, recently tried a rear-end admitted liability case where Plaintiff, who was a long term diabetic with chronic kidney disease, claimed injuries to his neck and back. He underwent extensive chiropractic treatment, ESI and had a multilevel fusion recommendation. Additionally, he claimed that because of the overall impact of his injuries, he transitioned from stage 4 chronic kidney disease to complete renal failure, necessitating dialysis three times a week. Plaintiff presented past medical bills approaching $1,000,000 and requested an award of future medical expenses of $12,000,000. The jury deliberated for just under 3 hours and returned a verdict of $93,748.66, and found no permanent injury. This was Mr. Nelsestuen’s first trial with Cole, Scott & Kissane, having joined the firm 5 months prior.

CSK obtains extremely favorable verdict for insurer in multi-vehicle liability case with $4.5 million sought

Dan Shapiro and Michele Bartels, partners in Cole, Scott & Kissane’s Tampa Office obtained an extremely favorable verdict of $21,000 in a rear-end auto accident heavily contested litigation involving multiple vehicles, having admitted liability. The Plaintiff had undergone several years of treatment including 2 back surgeries and total medicals exceeded $560,000. Plaintiff proposed a life care plan of $4.5 million at trial.

CSK successfully defends an insurer in bad faith claim with alleged exposure of $100 million

Barry Postman of CSK’s West Palm Beach office and Michael Brand of CSK’s Miami office obtained a defense verdict after a two week jury trial that concluded on Friday in Miami. The plaintiff was former Miami Dolphins football player – OJ McDuffie. He claimed that the team physician for the Miami Dolphins committed malpractice when he treated him for an on the field injury causing him to prematurely end his career and lose out on millions of dollars in future NFL contracts. The case was previously handled by a different law firm and went to trial in 2010 resulting in a $11.5 million dollar verdict for Mr. McDuffie. After the verdict was thrown out, CSK was asked to handle the retrial. Both Dan Marino and Coach Jimmy Johnson were witnesses in the case. The Plaintiff asked the jury to award $19.9 million dollars and turned down a one million dollar settlement offer that was on the table until the jury came back with a defense verdict.

CSK obtains dismissal amid trial of contentious legal malpractice action by investment firm lasting ten years, seeking millions

Ten years ago, Cole Scott & Kissane and its partner, Jonathan Vine, was hired to represent a Chicago lawyer and his law firm in a legal malpractice action brought in West Palm Beach. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit were a husband and wife who owned an investment firm and a broker/dealer who had been sued by the SEC in an enforcement action alleging that the husband and wife had defrauded their clients out of millions of dollars (a Ponzi-scheme, of sorts). The allegation was that their lawyer in the action brought by the SEC committed malpractice in the defense he provided, causing millions of dollars in unnecessary legal fees and damages. CSK aggressively litigated this matter on behalf of their clients for the past ten years, culminating in trial. Right before the trial, the prominent law firm handling the case for the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the case on behalf of the wife in exchange for an agreement of the defense to not go after her for attorneys’ fees and costs. The husband decided to proceed to trial without counsel, with the Chicago lawyer and law firm represented at trial by our own Jonathan Vine and Barry Postman – partners in the Cole, Scott & Kissane West Palm Beach office. One of the two witnesses for plaintiff attesting to the legitimacy and satisfaction of provision of investment brokerage services was a former 4th DCA appellate judge. Plaintiff also elicited testimony from the investment firm’s compliance officer. Upon Mr. Vine’s vigorous cross examination of the witnesses, the plaintiff agreed to voluntarily dismiss his case also in exchange for an agreement not to seek fees and costs. Mr. Vine and Mr. Postman were assisted by CSK’s Josh Goldstein, Eric Sprechman and Michelle Frezer-D’Alena to achieve the great result that was obtained in this case.

Daily Business Review: Cole Scott Chief Gives Record $20M to UF Health Law Program

By Catherine Wilson | February 07, 2019 at 11:07 AM

Richard Cole, Managing Partner of Cole, Scott & Kissane, Miami

Cole, Scott & Kissane managing partner Richard P. Cole has given $20 million to the University of Florida Levin College of Law’s health law program in honor of his late father, a fellow UF law alumnus.

The public university said the bequest funding an endowment is the largest individual contribution in the law school’s history and one of the largest donations to any law school in the country.

Cole’s gift honors Robert B. Cole, the founding chairman of Baptist Health of South Florida.

The donation expands the Robert B. Cole Health Law Endowment, which was created in 1995 to support teaching, programs, research and publications in the area of health law.

“Richard’s incredible generosity will enable UF Law to assume a leadership role in health law,” said law dean Laura Rosenbury. The contribution will allow the school to build on “faculty strengths and better leverage the many opportunities within a major research institution in the third largest state of the nation.”

UF President Kent Fuchs said the gift moves the Gainesville university a step closer to being a top five public research institution.

“Gifts of this magnitude make a significant difference in our progress toward our highest goals as a university,” Fuchs said. “Health law is a critical field today, and this gift will make it possible for our faculty and students to accomplish a marvelous amount of good.”

The endowment will support a chair and professorship in health law, a health law area of concentration in the J.D. curriculum, merit scholarships and an annual symposium bringing together legal and medical communities, government agencies, nonprofits, faculty and law students.

“This investment in our future will support generations of students who will come from around the world to study health law at the University of Florida,” Rosenbury said.

Cole’s law firm is the largest in Florida by number of attorneys with more than 400 in 11 offices.

Cole, a former president of the Dade County Bar Association, is recognized as a leader in personal injury defense and medical, legal and professional malpractice.